JIS News

Chairman of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Board of Directors, Dr. Elizabeth Ward has said that injuries associated with acts of violence continue to take a toll on the nation’s health services.
Speaking to JIS News, she said that some $2.2 billion is spent annually on “patching up” victims of violence in the nation’s hospitals, adding that in 2006, of that total, $1.5 billion was spent addressing slight injuries.
“The injuries that occur are just somebody beating up somebody or getting a cut or bruise during an incident and they have to go to the hospital for assistance,” she explained.
The majority of the serious injuries, Dr. Ward further noted, occurred when interpersonal relationships fail to work out well. “This is whether it is between you and your spouse or between you or a friend or acquaintance.it just goes horribly wrong and then violence gets involved,” she lamented.
Aside from the impact on the nation’s health sector, Dr. Ward stressed that there was a tremendous effect on the children that live in a violent environment, where violent disagreements are the norm.
“Parents might not be beating the children but when they [children] have to live in a violent environment, they grow up so traumatized and so distressed, that they begin to think that they are the reason that their parents are fighting,” Dr. Ward argued.
“The children cannot sleep at night. They have anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorders, where they keep reliving the fights and subsequent injuries. These children either withdraw or become very aggressive,” she added.
The Chairman pointed out that violence could be controlled, especially acquaintance related violence, as people who know each other, should learn how to manage their anger and have discourse without involving violence.
In the meantime, the VPA, a non-governmental organization, is spearheading activities for Peace Month, which will commence on February 6, the birthday of reggae icon, Bob Marley, and will end on March 4. The annual Peace March, slated for March 4, will be held under the theme: ‘Peace for Prosperity’, which sends a strong message to all Jamaicans to invest in children for a prosperous country.
The aim of this year’s march is not only to heighten awareness about peace, but also to stimulate discussions on parenting and the best methods to correct children, without using violence. The VPA is also encouraging community groups, churches and corporate Jamaica to initiate community programmes that are designed to bring about peace.